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Normalise brain activity with early interventions

A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry has provided further evidence that intensive early interventions can help to normalise brain activity in young children with the symptoms of autism.

This randomised, case-controlled study involved 48 children diagnosed with autism aged between 18 and 30 months. Around half the children received 20 hours of structured, intensive therapy a week for two years. Their parents were also trained to deliver these interventions. The intensive therapy used was the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM). The remainder of the children received various other community-based interventions.

The study considered at the brain activity of the children when looking at pictures of faces or at pictures of toys. The children diagnosed with autism would typically show more brain activity when looking at a toy, the neurologically normal children tended to respond more to faces.

By the end of the study the children receiving the intensive interventions showed significant changes in brain activity compared to the children receiving the less intensive support. 73% of the children receiving intensive support showed more brain activity when viewing faces, a figure similar to the 71% of neurologically normal children used as a control sample. In contrast the children receiving the less intensive support had an opposite pattern, with the majority, 64%, still having more brain activity when looking at a toy.

The children diagnosed with autism who had greater brain activity while viewing faces also showed improvements in social communication, such as being able to initiate interactions, make eye contact and imitate others.

Sally Rogers, professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences and a researcher with the UC Davis MIND Institute said:

“The findings on improved behavioural outcomes and the ability to normalise brain activity associated with social activities signify that there is tremendous potential for the brains of children with autism to develop and grow more normally,”

Via http://www.stonehearthnewsletters.com/autism-early-intervention-found-to-normalize-brain-activity-in-children-as-young-as-18-months/autism/


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Welcome to ourNews, where we keep up-to-date with research and other news related to infant mental health. These articles can be of interest to both parents and professionals.
We are keen to know your views and so please do comment on our articles.
Is there a topic that you would like us to write about? Just send us a message via 'Contact us'.

ourAdvice, our other blog, has brief posts with advice for parents.

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